Sunday, 31 May 2009

Rose 'Heritage'

Rosa 'Heritage'

I have this wonderful rose on my table. I'm drawing another rose at the moment but this one has such a wonderful smell...

Thursday, 28 May 2009


This is the last drawing I'll show you of my botanical drawing course with Valerie Oxley, three weeks ago. Valerie told us a few remarkable things about the difference between thorns, prickles and spines. She wanted us to make sketches of them. She brought all sorts of painful subjects. Like roses (of course) thistles and Pyracantha (Firethorn). I made a few sketches but I didn't want to make one page with the different branches and leaves. I wanted to end the course in colour and decided to make a coloured pencil drawing of a Berberis twig. I finished the drawing when I got home. I really like this one. The sharp pointy thorns and the beautiful colours were a lot of fun to draw.

Berberis thunbergii 'Atropurpurea'

The drawing I will not show you is the drawing I made of a Stachys leaf. We learned a few things about painting and drawing hairy and silver coloured leaves. The drawing wasn't very good. Maybe with a bit more experimenting with the different techniques I will come up with a good result but this leaf was a bad experience. The thing I learned that day was that I don't like to draw hairy and silver coloured leaves.

Anyway.... This course was a lot of fun. I met some very nice people again and Valerie Oxley taught me some very good things. I hope you enjoyed this too :)

Monday, 18 May 2009

A leaf

I promissed to show you some more results from my botanical drawing course. On Tuesday we did a practice with leaves. How to draw and paint twisted, folded and turned leaves. Most of the ladies in the course made a drawing/painting of a hosta or Persicaria leaf. I was the only one drawing this leaf. The woman who brought this leaf to the course told me it was a Helianthus leaf. But I have big doubts about that. But it doesn't matter very much. It's only a practice after all.

Greens are difficult and leaves can be so very, very hard to draw well. Actually I admire artists that paint a lot of foliage. To paint one or two beautiful leaves is great of course. But to paint a whole bunch of them and do them perfectly.... sigh..... I just don't have the patience to do that.

Helianthus (?) leaf

Anyway... Here's the drawing. Coloured pencil again. And I must say that I'm pretty pleased with it. The fade-away distant colours just happened. I didn't think too much about that.

I had some trouble with the pencils though. The tutor, Valerie Oxley, brought some pencils to the course. I could use them if I wanted to. A nice way to try out some other brands. I tried some greens from the Derwent Coloursoft series. I wish I hadn't. I picked a beautiful Dark Green colour. A super colour for the shadow parts in this leaf. But when I burnished some of it with my white pencil the green turned into a viridian/ cobalt blue greenish colour. Very bright. I tried to get it all out of the leaf, but as you can see... here and there I couldn't. Never mind. It was a good practice and now I'm very sure I don't like the Derwent coloursoft pencils.

Saturday, 16 May 2009


Last week I joined a 5 day botanical drawing course. My tutor that week was the wonderful Valerie Oxley. The Dutch Society of Botanical Artists invited her over for this masterclass. Every day we practiced a different subject of botanical painting and drawing.

We started on Monday with yellow flowers. Yellow flowers artists often avoid because they are a bit tricky. Not me... I avoided yellow flowers just because I don't like them. But that day there was no excuse, we had to do a yellow flower. A tulip.
The first drawing we did was done by putting in the shadows first and then the colours. (I forgot to tell you that there were people working with watercolour and also some people worked with coloured pencils. I was very happy I wasn't the only one using the pencils) The second drawing was the other way around. You can see here the first drawing on the left and the second drawing on the right.

Yellow Tulips

In the first drawing I used greys for the shadow parts. In the second drawing I used a bit of light violet and warm grey in the darker parts. As always with light coloured flowers (or any other subject with a light colour) I concluded that it's better to work in the shadows later because you have more controle over the colours.

I had fun doing this practice although I still don't like yellow flowers. And I also still believe that yellow tulips is the closest you can get to a plastic-flower-look. Later this week I'll post some more drawings and sketches I made during this course.